“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” Walter Bagehot
I love this quote. I love doing what people say I cannot do. I’ve been doing it a long time. In fact, I have a little physical emoji of a can that says “I can!” I suspect this thing was made to be one of those pins you stick on your lapel but since I wear very little jewelry and no accessories, this little can is now stuck in the wall in my bathroom where I can see it regularly.
I was thinking about this quote today and realized that it isn’t just people who tell us what we can and can not do, It is also ourselves. We all have those little inner voices that chatter away in the background, telling us “you can’t do that!”
But that isn’t true. We can. It sometimes takes a bit of work. It sometimes takes a change in what we believe to be true about ourselves. For example, do you believe that after you reach a certain age you can’t do certain things? Why do you believe that? Is it because someone told you? It is because the adults in your life modeled it for you? I was lucky, I had a dad who water skied and played professional trumpet till he was in his 80s. Then he retired and hit the road in a motorhome. He modeled for me that we do not have to believe what others, or ourselves, tell us about our age.
We are only as old as we make up our minds to be.
This is just one example of examining our thoughts and beliefs to discover what we believe about a thing, and then asking if it is really true. Or did we just assume it to be true?
Here’s the truth: you can be and do anything you wish. Period. Don’t let the naysayers, whether they are in your own mind or in the minds of others, tell you what you can and cannot do.
There is a Force in the universe that is everywhere present. I suspect you may agree with me on that, even if you call It a different name. I love the omnipresent feature of Spirit, because if It is truly everywhere present, It is also within me. From the teachings of Science of Mind and from other teachings, I have discerned that this truth has much greater ramifications than simply God is within me. It also means that God is AS ME. In fact, I like to think that, as human beings, we are the way that God shows up in the world. We are God’s opportunity to speak. I believe that this is what it means when the Bible says we are children of God. If this is true, then we have both a gift and a responsibility. The gift is that with God as us, we have all the power and love and joy that God has. This has great potential for being able to live our lives successfully, with joy and peace. It is truly a great gift. The responsibility is that, with God as us, we need to act like it and not allow our fearful humanness to get in the way. Here is where we can take the love, power, strength, joy, beauty and peace that is attributed to Spirit and make it ours. If we all live as if we truly believe that we are physical manifestations of God, imagine how wonderful things would be! So today I sink into the gratitude I feel for this wonderful truth, that God is such a part of me that I have all the power and love and of God as a part of me as well, and today I walk in power and strength, I have unconditional love for myself and others, I feel and appreciate the beauty and joy of life, and I feel at peace. I am One.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Do you have dreams? If not, why not? A good spiritual practice is to sit down and figure out what your dreams are for your life. And I have news for you: always have a dream. Because when we have a dream, the universe conspires for it to happen. Once we discern our dream, there is a giant YES there and everything that happens from that point onward is simply another step to achieving that dream. Sometimes it may not look that way. Have you ever heard that old adage about not praying for patience because you will get something to be patient about? Yeah, that. Just keep going. Handle whatever comes up with dignity and grace and keep moving confidently in the direction of your dream.
What if you have a dream, but you don’t think it is possible to achieve it? Dreams are nice, you might think, but they are just dreams. Not true. There are a lot of definitions for the word dream, but I prefer this one: an aspiration or a goal. Yes, dreams do come true. If you don’t think it is possible to achieve your dream, start there. Why do you not think it possible?
And if you do not have the confidence to advance in the direction of your dream, that is the place to begin.
Ultimately, dreams are good stuff. We have an idea or a dream, and the yes is always there, waiting for our participation in achieving it.
Today, I confidently advance in the direction of my dream.
Alan Watts: “If we cling to a belief in god, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”
Joseph Campbell: “… to worship a god, you must become that god. No matter what you call the god or think it is, the god you worship is the one you are capable of becoming. The power of a deity is that it personifies a power that is in Nature and in your nature. When you find that level, then you are in play. That is the work of art in general, because art really is a worship.”
Me, yesterday, in conversation with a friend: “instead of going with the flow, I want to take it deeper. I want to TRUST the flow.” Because trusting the flow means I can truly let go. Sometimes, when I’m just going with the flow, I’m still attempting to control or manipulate it. Truly letting go takes trust. Which then means I must explore what it is I am trusting.
Then there is this, from Obi Wan Kenobi: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.”
The Force is, for me, what god is.
And lest you scoff at me quoting fictional movie characters, I’ll just say that the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, studied Science of Mind. It is my personal opinion that the concepts in the Star Wars movies are great illustrations of this wonderful teaching that has so effectively allowed me to live an even greater life than I ever imagined.
So here I am, trusting, embodying, having faith instead of belief. Asking myself, what does that look like in every day life? It is an interesting exercise in self reflection. If I trust, then I must also accept. Oh, and here’s another comment, made by me when asked by my horse trainer/equine therapist, as she does after every lesson “what did you learn today?”: “allow but continue on.”
This means I must allow what is happening (which for me means I don’t resist it, judge it, try to manipulate it, or attempt to control it) but also continue on with my mission in life. Whether that mission is to continue the horse back ride or to continue doing my minister work in the world or continue doing the laundry or continue to know the good for myself and others. I must allow but also continue on. And that takes trust, and embodying, and having faith.
Such are my thoughts today as I move out into the world to get a massage and do a wedding. And see the completion of the derockifying of my riding trail. WEEHAW! Can’t wait to ride on it!
Today I trust, embody the good, and have faith. Oh, and I play today. And because I also want to play a bit, because play is always a part of things in my life, I’m going to include an oldie but a goodie meme I made three years ago. Because it takes trust, embodiment and faith to do things that are considered crazy, delusional and ambitious. And that, my friends, is what a life looks like when one lives in trust, embodiment and faith.
Jeff Anderson: "It's the nature of things to orbit!"
Ernest Holmes: "Every person should take time for this inner communion..."
I believe there are stages in life, and I also believe that we need to honor those stages. In doing so, we honor ourselves. I used to be a highly social person...I fed off of social situations and enjoyed them immensely. I was ok being alone, but given a choice of a night with people, no matter what we were doing, or a night at home alone, I chose to be with people. Now....given that same choice, I will usually choose to be at home alone. I still enjoy social situations, and I work with the public and love them believe it or not. But I have these urges that say, "let's just stay home." I believe this to be a stage. I don't know how long it will last, nor do I care. What I do know is that my job is to listen to my inner callings, and honor them. In doing so, I respect and honor my personal journey through life. I am not recommending that you stay home and sleep or eat junk food, especially if you are in a depression. What I am recommending is more of a personal self awareness practice so that you can know your own truth and honor it. Be kind to yourself. Above all, be kind to yourself. You are the one who gets to determine whether being kind to yourself means staying home, or going out. Know thyself is the message of today's reading. What do you do to know thyself?
Affirmation: Today I take time to know myself, and to honor and respect myself.
It’s 2023. Personally, I believe that what I am experiencing is similar to what many others are experiencing. It’s a combination of a desire to move into the new, into what wants to be born, coupled with a sort of hesitancy. I’ve heard people use words like cautiously and slowly when they are describing their re-entry into society.
In this post covid world, things are different. Much has been lost, which means of course, that there is a lot of opportunity to create something new.
For me, I am feeling as if I am on the cusp of some very new ways of showing up in the world. I’ve come to realize I’ve been immersed in a huge dark night of the soul the last few years. And I’m just coming out of it. This is the time when I can do any needed forgiveness work, acknowledge with gratitude what has happened, decide how I wish to show up in the world, and then create.
That’s a simplistic description of course, but basically that covers it.
I think the key here is to be gentle and compassionate with one’s self. This is the ultimate in self care, and with Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I think it is the perfect time to be in self care mode.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that you take good care of yourself.
Which immediately reminded me of that old saying, something about if wishes were fishes. So I googled it. (Don’t you just love google?). Here’s what came up: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride" is a proverb and nursery rhyme, first recorded about 1628 in a collection of Scottish proverbs, which suggests if wishing could make things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted.” And then this was also there: “K.C. Jones says when someone would wish for something, it used to be cute to reply: ‘And if wishes were fishes we'd have some fried; And if wishes were horses, beggars might ride.’ "
And this led me to a story I would like to share with you. Because there’s a way to do more than wish. There’s a way to have those wishes come true.
First of all, a bit of history: my mom was the one who taught me about the wishbone in the turkey. She would clean those wishbones and stash them someplace until they dried out, then proudly produce one, ask me to pull one end while she held the other end, and if it broke off in my favor, I got to make a wish. Somehow she managed to arrange it so that it always broke off in my favor. At least that’s the way I remember it.
Anyway, today is the day after thanksgiving and I am now prepping for annual round of turkey soup and turkey noodle casserole and of course, turkey sandwiches. And I found the wishbone.
I also had a question posed to me a few days ago by a wise friend, upon learning that it was my birthday. He asked, “so what are your intentions for this next trip around the sun?”
Now, my wise friend is a Science of Mind minister, like me, so I knew precisely what he was asking. Because in our world, we know that a setting of an intention is actually an affirmative prayer. And as I voiced to him my intentions, which I had previously voiced to no one else, I asked myself if I was really ready for this? Because in my world, this setting of intentions stuff is powerful. And the answer came back, yeah, I’m ready. Also in our world: our prayers tend to be of the affirmation type, not the beseeching type. In other words, we don’t ask a god or the universe or whatever outside of ourselves to please do this for us. We instead know that as we are, as Ernest Holmes put it, unique and individualized manifestations of god, we can simply speak our word and know.
We actually have a formulaic 5 step prayer for this stuff. Yep, an affirmative prayer.
Not a wish. Not a goal. Not a resolution. But an intention. There are very real differences between these things, which, by the way, is why I don’t do new year’s resolutions.
Back to the prayer:
Here’s that 5 step affirmative prayer in a nutshell: God is, I Am, It is done, Thanks, Bye!
Now, because I’ve been doing affirmative prayer since god was a child, I can do the shortened version of this thing and put feeling behind it and know.
But let me break it down a bit.
In Science of Mind classes, we are given an acronym for this formula. By the way, this is basic foundational Science of Mind stuff and it is taught in all beginning classes, because everything else basically builds upon affirmative prayer. Oh, and while I’m here, we sometimes call affirmative prayer “treatment.” So if you ever experience a Science of Mind person asking you if you have a treatment request, what they are really asking you is if you have an affirmative prayer request.
So here we go:
R U R T R?
Are You Ready to Receive?
The first one is Recognition. I recognize God. Now, you can flesh out this step in whatever way appeals to you. The key here is to move into a feeling space with it. This isn’t just intellectual heady stuff. Thought plus feeling equals power and when we do an affirmative prayer, we begin with this first step recognizing the existence of a god in whatever form, and we begin to feel stuff by doing that. I tend to flesh out this step with things like God is all good, all the time. I might add some qualities of spirit as we like to call them. God is love, god is power, god is peace, god is joy. And for good measure, I usually add that god is everywhere present.
Which leads me to the next step: Unification. God and I, we are one. Oneness. No separation between me and god. I usually have some fun with this step. I am a godling. A little godling running around on this earth. Notice the first person singular by the way. And if you don’t know what that is, review your grammar class but basically we do this stuff in I statements. Not you and not we. There’s reasons for this which could get me way off track so I won’t go into them now. Just speak in I statements. If you are curious and want more, take the Foundations class. Let me know. I can offer that one. Anyway, back to the unification: I am a unique and individualized manifestation of spirit. (That’s from Ernest Holmes by the way). God is living and moving and breathing as and in and through me. And one of my other favorites, I am a drop in the ocean, god is the ocean. The key is to realize here that there is no separation between us. There isn’t a god out there. Only in here.
Next step: Realization. This is a fun one. I love love love this step. Because in this step I get to affirm and know and feel as if it is already true. So we state this step in the present tense (see comment about grammar), as if it is already happening. And we get to state how we are feeling about this event. So we don’t necessarily affirm the event, we affirm the feelings we will have when the event comes true. As an example, I’m going to out myself here and give you one of the intentions I stated to my friend when he asked. You are the second to hear my intention for this next year. My intention this year is to manifest a healthy, equal, romantic relationship with a wonderful partner who is open, loving, kind and has similar beliefs to me. Now, that’s pretty specific. And no, I don’t and won’t outline that in my prayer. But I do have it mind because those things lead me to the feelings I will get when this comes true: peace, joy, a sense of companionship, intimacy. So in reality I am affirming those feelings. My prayer is for those feelings to manifest within me. The rest of it, the manifestation of the perfect guy in my life at the perfect time, well let’s just say I am now in partnership with a Law that always says yes to my word. How I get there isn’t entirely up to me, although I do have some footwork to do. Like BE the partner I wish to attract. Which means I get to also BE open, loving, kind. And I get to really know what my beliefs are. So when I BE these things, I activate the law of attraction that Ernest Holmes speaks of in an ENTIRE CHAPTER in the Science of Mind textbook. So, I affirm the feelings. I BE the qualities. Notice there is no other action that needs to be taken. Although I will freely admit that sometimes I do find it necessary to do some footwork. For example, I need to work on just how open and loving I really am. Yeah, when we affirm this stuff, the first thing that usually happens is that opportunities will arise for us to take care of our own shit. Which is why I asked myself if I was truly ready to affirm this intention. I knew what I was setting myself up for. It’s good. It’s ok. I’m ready.
Then I give thanks. Express my gratitude. Because it is already done in the Law, that delights in doing precisely what I affirm, every single time.
Then I release into that Law, which basically means I let it go. It is done. I need do nothing more with it. As Eddie Watkins Jr. sings in one of his songs, you don’t bury a seed then dig it up again to see if it is sprouting. I leave it be.
And anchor: and so it is!
That’s the story of how I got from a wishbone to an affirmative prayer.
I remember the aha moment I had when Kim Kaiser, then Dean of Holmes Institute, said this to me. I had been reporting to him all the losses I had experienced, and how well I was coping with them. And he said, “Karen, metaphysics does not operate at the level of making lemonade out of lemons.” And for the first time ever, I realized that I did not need to lemons to get the lemonade. I didn’t need loss and change and icky stuff in order to experience good in my life. I could just, simply, willy nilly, experience the good! What a concept! Except it wasn’t that simple. Because in order for me to do that I had to have an inner shift in consciousness. I had to change my belief that one succeeded in life due to how well one coped with loss and change. I had to change my belief that I really wasn’t worthy of simply experiencing my good, just because. So I went to work on changing that belief. Today, I know and feel I can just simply experience my good. But once in a while a reminder is good.
Hot off the press! A BRAND NEW daily reading, written just this morning! WEEHAW! And a first: for the FIRST TIME EVER I had to resort to pulling a photo off a royalty free photo site to use for my meme. Up to this point, all the photos I’ve used for my memes are mine. But I’ve never taken a photo of grapes, believe it or not. So I had to go find one. I like this one and it illustrates my point nicely.
Here’s the reading, I hope you enjoy it:
Ernest Holmes: “It has been said that we can know God only in so far as we can become God.” Gary Zukav, from Seat of the Soul: “ It is impossible for you to come full circle in this way of empowerment without prayer. It is not enough to want or to intend or to meditate. You must pray. You must talk. You must ask. You must believe. That is partnership.”
Gratitude Relaxation Altitude Peace Excellence
Eat your grapes today!
I just had a conversation with my prayer partner, during which I was voicing to her to qualities of spirit I wished to embody for today. And we realized we had the beginnings of an acronym! So we went with it and came up with GRAPE!
Now, if you remember our wonderful form of prayer called treatment, or affirmative prayer, then you might also remember that while it is perfectly ok to pray for outside stuff, my personal preference is to go within and pray to embody qualities of spirit, which then create the outside stuff.
So today I am embodying gratitude. Gratitude for all that is. For the miracle of modern medicine. For the miracle of the power of our minds to create our reality. For my surroundings, my life, my beingness. And I further embody relaxation, simply being still, and knowing. And I also reach high, into great altitude, knowing that there is always something greater in store for me. Always higher. And I feel that grand glorious sense of peace flowing through me. And I know excellence. Excellence in living through and because of spiritual principle. Excellence in embodying those qualities of spirit I just mentioned. Excellence in living. Period.
On this 4th of July, I do not feel in a celebratory mood. In fact, I feel the opposite. I feel sad, I am worried. I feel the pain of my fellow humans who are of a different color than me, who still, even after this country was founded on all men being created equally, are not equal. They still suffer under shackles of red lining, efforts to prevent them from voting, racial profiling and other efforts to intimidate them. I feel the pain of being a woman and feeling as if I am, simply because of my gender, relegated to second class citizenship having to fight for the right to make my own decisions about my health care. I feel the pain of not even being able to own a credit card in my name in my lifetime, simply because of my gender. I feel the pain of folks who have different belief systems than much of America, and yet are not given the same recognition as those who claim the mantle of Christianity. I have felt the scorn coming from a Catholic priest who simply refused to acknowledge that there was any other way to believe than his own way. I have felt the scorn of the evangelical who believes that women should not be ministers. I feel the pain of folks who dare to be different in the pursuit of their own happiness, as this is supposedly guaranteed in our Constitution, and yet they are ridiculed and harmed.
I feel all this pain, and it is all so unnecessary. And I strive to live in spiritual principle. I strive to live from a place of being for something and against nothing. It is admittedly very difficult to do these days, yet I still strive. I adopted this spiritual principle after hearing about it for the first time in a talk originally given by Ernest Holmes in 1959. I first heard this talk sometime around the early 2000s, and my entire world was rocked. The entire talk is incredible but this one sentence gets me every time, “ Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, who is redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul and I will find another savior, another Jesus, and an exalted human being.” From that moment onward I began to explore how to remove the burdens from my soul so that I could be for something and against nothing.
“Redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul…”. And then I remember that even Jesus told us that we could do all the things he did, and so much more and greater.
So why are we not doing that? We are we not redeemed enough to not condemn others out of the burdens of our own souls?
I spend much of my time answering these questions, and attempting to find solutions to the problems we face, as a nation.
The separation cannot continue, because it really is true that united we stand and divided we fall.
And so my work continues, as does the work of many others who also feel the pain. And in my search to be for something and against nothing, on this July 4th holiday, here is what I am for:
I am for a way of life that embodies what Gary Zukav, in his book The Seat of the Soul, authentic power. This kind of power means that we have no burden on our souls, so we are against nothing. This kind of power shows up in a full love of life, in all its forms. This kind of power shows up in loving everything and everyone. Loving all. No matter the color of their skin. No matter what religion they practice. No matter what their gender is. No matter what their sexual preference is. Because when we stand in this kind of power, we are at peace, confident in our own place in the world, and thus have no need to displace anyone else.
I am for true equality for all. I am for compassionate and honest communication to resolve our differences. I am for each and every human being to be free of the burdens that would cause them to lash out in fear and attempt to destroy anything that isn’t in their zone of approval. So on this 4th of July, I am for peace most of all. And so I call on each and every one of us, as we picnic, as we attend parades, as we barbecue, as we go about our day celebrating, that we look each person we encounter in the eye and think peace. That we great each person we encounter with an expression of joy and acceptance. Begin there. Then let’s see what happens.